When Fiction Becomes Reality

If you’re a loyal (or even an occasional) reader, you know that I ❤ New Orleans with a capital ❤ . I love the history, the food, the people, the music… There is always something going on in NOLA, and if you’re there and are bored, it’s your own fault. My darling husband and I just returned from NOLA, where we spent several days doing some touristy stuff (no matter how many times you visit, the nighttime ghost tours of the French Quarter are always a must), and a lot of wandering around on our own.

There’s no real way to adequately describe the personality of a city like New Orleans. It’s schizophrenic in the best possible way.  Every street has its own style, its own flair, its own history, and its own look. This is why you can walk a mere block or two and have it seem like you’ve stepped into another world.  The Vieux Carre is as different from the Garden District as the sun is from the moon.

Though there are other places I have visited that I enjoyed, none of them have captured my soul quite like NOLA has.  Because I thrive on stories – I read them, I write them, I tell them.  And NOLA has endless stories.  Some are horrid and bloody (Madame Delphine LaLaurie, I’m lookin’ at you right now), some are outlandish and nigh unbelievable (the ghost of a pirate guarding Jean Laffite’s treasure haunts Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop, a local bar), and some are downright sad (a boarding school burned, killing several children who couldn’t escape). But ALL of them, no matter the subject, are interesting.

I stumbled across Alys Arden’s book The Casquette Girls purely by accident – one of those “if you liked this, then try that” types of things. I read the blurb, and saw that it was set in New Orleans (relatively) present-day, and that it somehow involved vampires.  This presented a conundrum. With the exception of one or two specific titles, I am not a fan of vampire books. At all. However, I am a fan of New Orleans. So the fact that this book was set in the Big Easy drew it out of the “nope” category into the “I’ll give it a try” category. I’m so glad I did, because, Reader, I am in total love with this book. Arden takes several prominent (and some obscure) urban legends from New Orleans history and, along with some contemporary events, weaves them into a beautiful tale of mystery, magic, and adventure.

First of all, the setting is perfectly presented. It conveys the colorful personality of New Orleans – in all its aspects – very well. It embraces the diversity, the culture, the humanity of the city and its residents unapologetically – even proudly. Additionally, it is set in the days following “the Storm”, which is obviously Hurricane Katrina, but is never specifically named as such. So readers get to experience the devastation, the loss, the frustration of the situation right along with the characters.

And let’s talk about those characters for a minute… The story revolves around Adele – born and raised New Orleansian, half-American/half-French, and telekinetic; Desiree – New Orleans native, mayor’s daughter, and hereditary voodoo witch; and Isaac – high school dropout, relief worker, and animagus. I liked how each of the characters is in a different stage of their supernatural journey: Adele learns of her abilities at the beginning of the book, Isaac knows what he is but is still coming to terms with it, and Desiree has known of her gifts from birth and has been practicing magic her whole life. The characters are dynamic, individual, and interesting all, in their own rights.

The plot of this book kept me rapt, and I literally lost sleep over it (because I stayed up late reading). It expertly intertwines a past storyline with a present storyline and make me care equally about both. The past bleeds forward into the present, and decisions made by characters in the past affect the fate of characters in the future. I liked the limited POV, and that I learned things as the characters learned them; I felt a sense of profound pleasure when I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

I must confess, though, that I did NOT see the plot twist coming, so that was a nice surprise.

I also liked that though this book had vampires, it wasn’t wholly about vampires. Yes, they played a role and essentially acted as a catalyst for the events, but they weren’t the main focus of the story. Which was totally fine by me.

On a sidenote: I read this book before my husband and I went on our latest trip to NOLA, and it was a blast to be able to try to find all the different places highlighted in the book on the actual streets of the French Quarter.  Alys Arden grew up in NOLA, and as an expert on the area, adds in places that only locals (or someone who is a frequent visitor) know about.  I took pictures of some of them.

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Bottom of the Cup Tea Room
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St. Germain House
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Old Ursuline Convent

Overall, I found this book to be fun and thoughtful and clever, and I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Romeo Catchers.

A Bittersweet Farewell

As a self-proclaimed loner/introvert, I am one of those people who spends a lot of time alone.  This has always been the way of things, and it means that I’ve always enjoyed solitary activities – reading, writing, wandering.  I am also one of those completely insane people who love school, and actively look for new things to learn.  I am a #historybuff, and have always had a fascination with all things ancient in general, and Egyptian in particular. Independently of any assignments or school requirements, I learned about the history of Egypt, its deities, and its mythology.  Yes, nerd.

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Years (and years and years ago), one of my reading buddies (one of the rare friends I’ve known since childhood, and retained into adulthood) introduced me to the Amelia Peabody mysteries, penned by Elizabeth Peters (a nom de plume for Barbara Mertz).  I was in my late teens, and immediately fell in love with the clever, feisty Englishwoman and her larger-than-life husband, Emerson.  Their adventures were ones I reveled in – chasing criminals across the desert and through famous ruins, discovering lost treasures, championing equality for all – and I looked forward to each new installment of the series with excitement.

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One of the things I really liked about the series was the characters.  I appreciated how independent and forward-thinking Amelia Peabody was, and how she acted as if equality for all people – regardless of sex, race, or upbringing – was a given, rather than a right.  She was confident, she was brave, and she did not let others push her around.  And above all, she was clever, and used her intelligence to her advantage to get her out of all sorts of trouble.  Emerson, likewise, was written as an evolved character.  In a time period where men were intimidated by women who exhibited intelligence, courage, and autonomy, Emerson reveled in the fact that his lady love possessed all these qualities – and more.  He did not try to stifle her, he did not try to protect her; rather, he looked to her as an equal.  Additionally, he is awesome even on his own.  He’s brilliant, brave, determined, and just the kind of man others respect respect because he deserves it, not because he demands it.  Peabody and Emerson (and their son Ramses – but that’s another post), are among – and even at the top of my list – my all-time favorite literary characters.

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Alas, the era of Victorian gentlewoman Amelia Peabody Emerson is, indeed, over. Back in 2013, when I heard Barbara Mertz had passed away, I was profoundly saddened.  There would be no more Peabody/Emerson adventures, and I would miss them deeply.  So, in 2016, I was ecstatic to hear that Joan Hess would be producing one final volume, called The Painted Queen, based on Barbara Mertz’ planned plot and notes – a mystery surrounding the 1912 discovery of the famed bust of Nefertiti. And even though I knew it couldn’t be *exactly* the same as a Peters novel, at least it would have my beloved characters.

It goes against everything inside of me to give a negative review of this book. And to tell the truth, I didn’t dislike it. If it were a standalone title, and I didn’t have the rest of the Peabody canon to consider, I would think it a wonderfully fun adventure full of colorful characters. But it’s not a standalone. And though I think Hess did an admirable job of taking up Mertz’ mantle, something that had to have been infinitely difficult, I do think she fell a bit short of the mark.

Aside from the obvious continuity errors (of which there are many), something just seems a little off about the novel. It’s not the story – that was well done. The mystery is mysterious, the danger is dangerous, and the villain is villainous. Rather, it’s the characters themselves that I find problematic. Having read nineteen other entries in this series – all multiple times – I have gotten to know these characters quite well. And I find that, as written in The Painted Queen, they are all slightly off-center. Let’s look at them:
Amelia Peabody has always had an appreciation for whiskey and soda, and for adhering to mealtimes in an effort to retain a modicum of “civilization” in an “uncivilized” environment, but in this book, she is overly preoccupied with alcohol and with all the food. I mean, squirreling sandwiches away in her pockets and mentioning food every other page? If she had eaten so much through the entire series, she would have had to have a new working outfit made every season, and have her belt of tools resized to accommodate her expanding girth. This is not the same character I included in my Top 10 Coolest Book Characters post here.
Emerson has always been one of my favorite characters. In fact, I included him in one of my blog posts about my Top 10 Sigh-Worthy Heroes here, at my old blog home. I have a special appreciation for Emerson, because he very much reminds me of my own husband – large and imposing and blustery with a vocabulary quick to include expletives, but with a heart of gold. And I found the Emerson in this book to be a diminished caricature of Mertz’ Emerson. His suddenly-developed penchant for publicly professing his undying love and inability to live without Peabody was laughable. Everything he did was exaggerated, almost to the point of buffoonery, and it was a sad treatment of this most illustrious character.
Ramses I found to be the closest representation of the original. He is still imperious and arrogant, and his mind is still brilliant, if a little devious.
Nefret is a little trickier to discuss, because her changedness could be attributed to her harrowing (though self-afflicted) experiences reported in The Falcon at the Portal. She is demure, constantly apologizing, and annoyingly ladylike. This is not the Nefret I know and love. Yes, she made mistakes; no, she doesn’t need to change her entire personality to make up for them.
And, last but not least, there’s David, who seems to be around just for comic relief, and to make Ramses look smarter (as if that’s necessary). This annoyed me. I always admired the character of David, and considered him an integral part of the Peabody-Emerson family, as he was intelligent, yet brought a different perspective to the group. That is completely missing from this story.

So, even though it was lovely to return to Egypt for one last season with the Peabody-Emersons, it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.

Good bye, Peabody.  You will be greatly missed.

WIP Wilderness

It’s dark.  It’s creepy.  It’s terrifying.  There are pitfalls around every bend, and gremlins lie in wait to attack when you hit a wall.  There are tears of frustration.  Sometimes you want to die.  But then, ah, then… other times, you see the sunlight peek through the shadows, and you know everything is going to be ok.

No one ever said being a writer was easy.  In fact, Ernest Hemingway said:

There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter & bleed.

As a writer, I can attest to the fact that sometimes (most definitely all the times) this is exactly what it feels like.  You sit down to write, and one of two things happens: either you write all the words, or you write none of the words.  So I end a writing session either exhausted, or discouraged.  Needless to say, this is not ideal. It’s not healthy to drain your tank dry so you have nothing left for tomorrow; neither is it healthy to admit defeat and give up. There must be a way to persist!

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So, here you are, trying to make your way through Mordor the WIP Wilderness.  Many (way too many) writers make it halfway through, get discouraged, and give up.  I never want a fellow writer to get to that point.  So, how does one become a WIP Wilderness adventurer and navigator who laughs in the face of desolation and despair, and comes out victorious on the other side? Well.  I’ll be the first to say that I’m no expert.  However, I have picked up a few tricks along the way that may be of *some use* to *some of you*.  (No promises, though.) Here they are:

  1. Stay off the demon internet. If you’re anything like me, you’ll start out on Wikipedia with excellent intentions of learning all there is to know about the Orient Express, and six hours and thirty-seven link clicks later, you’ll find yourself learning all there is to know about Stevie Wonder’s glasses prescription.  And while Stevie Wonder is, indeed, worthy of research, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s got absolutely nothing to do with the Orient Express.  So in six hours, you’ve made zero steps of progress on your WIP.
  2.   Don’t be intimidated by the blinking cursor.  You are the boss.  Make it move.  Make it type words.  Even if those words are crap.  You see, you can edit crap; you can’t edit nothing. Yes, writer’s block is a thing – but you don’t have to let it cripple you.  One thing I’ve found that works for me if I’m having a hard time getting words down is free association.  I start writing down random words that come to my mind when I think about my WIP.  Some of those words will inevitably lead to sentences and scene ideas.  Another thing I will try is asking questions about my WIP.  The answers will quite often help me solve problems, and put me back on my writing track.
  3. Don’t get discouraged if your plan changes.  I have two jobs, three kids, two dogs, and way too many horses.  I’m a busy girl.  So I guard my writing time with Anduril in one hand and Aegis in the other, and all who dare to venture near me during writing time do so at their peril. That said, things happen, and plans change.  Just roll with it.  If your hour’s worth of writing time turns into fifteen minutes, make the most of that fifteen minutes.  DO NOT JUST GIVE UP WRITING FOR THE DAY.  Use every minute you have at your disposal, even if all you accomplish is one sentence.  It’s one sentence you didn’t have written before.
  4. Keep your creative tank full.  I hear people say this all of the time.  But what does it actually mean??? Well, this is my interpretation.  Writers are artists of a sort. Art appreciates art, and all forms of art compliment each other.  So, as a self proclaimed writer-artist, I try to spend some time in the “art world”.  I read extensively, I listen to music of all sorts, I visit museums and galleries, I watch movies. You never know where inspiration will strike, so give yourself every opportunity to experience creative outlet.  Creativity begets inspiration, and vice-versa.
  5. Find a writing buddy (or two).  I used to think this was nonsense, that the only time a writer needed a pal was at edits time.  I was dead wrong. I naturally connected with two other writers, and we have formed a mini-group.  We meet twice a month, and share/critique work, have brainstorm sessions, and swap ideas.  I have never been so motivated/inspired to write. NEVER.  Having someone to hold me accountable, and to encourage me to stick with it, and just finish the project already has been the one thing missing from my writing. Bottom line is, you don’t have to fly solo all the time; find a wing man (or woman).

And though it doesn’t necessarily get a number, also coffee.

All methods don’t work for all people – that’s a fact.  But if you’re game to try new things, maybe one of these tips will work for you. And as you venture into the WIP Wilderness, know that you’re not alone.  Do you have any tips or suggestions that help you get through the WIP Wilderness?

Cheers!

 

Top 5 “Please, No More!” Books

Yes, I know it’s Top 10 Tuesday, but time and  life restrict me from spending as much time blogging as I’d like.  So, it is what it is.  And I bring you Top 5 Tuesday.  At least for this week.

Any reader worth her salt is aware that publishing works on a pendulum.  A particular “type” of book breaks all known conventions and the author sells a half-dozen million copies and buys a house in the Hamptons AND a house on Mackinac Island.  And then EVERY WRITER EVERYWHERE has to write the same book, only their lead character is named Mary Sue, rather than Katniss.  And publishers herald these new books as “Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games meets The Berenstain Bears” to try to get readers to part with their cash. We’ve all seen it; we’ve all been suckered bought into it.

Well, I say NO MORE!

Here are 5 types of books I refuse to read any more of.

  1. THE DYSTOPIAN

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The dystopian has literally been done to death.  Though I will acknowledge that The Hunger Games did all the heavy lifting to pave the way for this (sub)genre to flourish, I have never been even a casual fan of dystopian novels.  Why, you ask? That’s an excellent question.  Let me tell you.  For one thing, they’re all exactly the same similar. I mean, ok.  We get it – government sucks, the ruling class are all jerks, it’s hard to choose between two cute boys, and murdery girls are super-cool.  How many ways can you think of to write that?  Apparently, loads of ways.  Unfortunately.

2.  THE VAMPIRE

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So, there are some really, really good vampire books out there.  One of my personal favorites is Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot.  It’s subtle and terrifying in its simplicity.  The problem with there being a (very, very) few good ones means they are outnumbered 347893728187:1 by the terrible ones.  I’m not sure how all the authors missed the memo, but vampire ≠ gorgeous, angsty, teenage drama kings.  Also, just fyi, vampires don’t fall in love with spectacularly stupid girls, they suck their blood and leave them for dead.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

3. MEAN GIRLS

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Yes, we know – high school is terrible, teenage boys are tiny demons, and teenage girls are literally hell spawn.  Writers, take note: stop recycling this narrative.  Rather than vilifying high school girls and perpetuating “clique culture”, start focusing on healthy relationships.  Give YA readers examples of EDIFYING female relationships.  (Shout out to Leigh Bardugo @LBardugo for masterfully demonstrating this in her new Wonder Woman: Warbringer.)  Show girls that they don’t need to be intimidated by one another, and that other girls aren’t their competition; rather, they’re their support team.  No, not everyone is going to be nice; not everyone is going to get along.  But this different mindset would go a long way toward changing the trajectory of high school relationships.

4. LOVE TRIANGLES

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So. Many. Love triangles.  If I pick up another YA book with a love triangle, my eyes are going to bleed.  Seriously, it’s hard enough to find one “perfect” dude, but the odds of finding two within the same vicinity of each other?  No shot.  And have you ever noticed, it’s always a girl choosing between two guys, and never the other way around?  I mean, is there ever a legit question about who she’s going to end up with, anyway?  Of course Bella was going to choose Edward; Simon didn’t have a prayer with Clary once Jace stepped into the picture; and anyone who thought Mare was going to pick Maven when she could have Cal is out of their mind. Though I don’t object to the idea of a ❤ triangle, I have yet to find one that’s well done and actually leaves me wondering who our heroine will choose.

5. SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE

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You know the one.  (Cue movie trailer voice guy.) “In a special land where everyone is special and has special powers of speciality, SHE is born ordinary. With brown hair and brown eyes and nothing particularly attractive about her, she has no specialness.  UnTIL, ONE DAY, she discovers she is a Super Special Secret Princess and her destiny is to, in the most special way possible, SAVE THE WORLD!” Ugh.  Give me a break.  So over it.

Ha.  Top 10 5 Tuesday turned into a bit of a personal rant.  It happens.  But, as you loyal and brilliant readers know, this is just a drop in the bucket that dips into the magical wishing well full of books I ❤ and adore.

What types of books are you completely over?

Princess of All Awesomeness

“Hey, Britney,” you say, “you know it’s August, right?  And you haven’t done a Monday review in three weeks?”

Yes.  I know it’s August, and Review Monday has been suspiciously absent.  I also know that this (see: blogs are ridiculously late) is what happens when things don’t go as planned, and you’re forced to scramble to make sure everything gets done.  It’s super annoying when life and responsibilities get in the way of reading and writing.  It’s a good thing I had a head start on my sister for the Great Reading Contest of 2017, because if I hadn’t, I think she would have caught me up this past month.

That said, I have gotten some reading in (though not as much as I’d like), and one of the books I read was part of the #ARCAugust challenge.  I had been anticipating reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer for months.  There were two reasons for this: 1) I ❤ Wonder Woman, and 2) one of my favorite authors, Leigh Bardugo, wrote the book.  I was interested to read a book wholly devoted to Wonder Woman, and I wanted to see how Bardugo represented her.  When you’re anticipating a book that much, and have such high expectations for it, there’s always the danger that it doesn’t stack up.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer definitely stacked up.  Here is the cover, and a partial blurb as found on Goodreads:

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She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . . 

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world. 

 

 

With a book like this, it’s hard to know what to focus on for a review.  I mean, I could fangirl all day long about Leigh Bardugo, but that doesn’t tell anyone about the book.  I could fangirl all day long about Wonder Woman, but that still doesn’t tell anyone about the book.  So I’ll try to focus on the things people care about: plot, setting, and characters.

PLOT: What originally seemed to be a pretty straightforward plot became surprisingly twisty in a way I definitely wasn’t expecting.  (I should have known Bardugo wouldn’t ever write anything straightforward.)  Though a “super hero book”, the danger doesn’t seem outlandish, and has possible real-world repercussions.  I liked that there was a lot of history woven into the story, of both mythical and realistic nature, and that the history affected the present.  Overall, the story itself was a great one – enjoyable, and complex enough to be interesting from the first page until the last.

SETTING: This was done SO well!  I liked the glimpses I got to see of Themyscira (yes, I had to Google the spelling.  Don’t look at me like that – unless you just watched the film, I’m pretty sure you had to Google the pronunciation), and of the Amazon civilization.  Also, magical, disappearing horses.  The island is done well enough that you truly feel the impact when Diana enters the “regular” world, and how difficult it is for her to process the vast difference between her home and the rest of the world.  And speaking of the rest of the world…  I loved that Bardugo put Diana on the subway in NYC.  What better way to introduce her to New Yorkers?

CHARACTERS: Bardugo did great work with this cast.  For one thing, it is diverse without being “token”.  The diversity of the characters deepens that sense of historicity I mentioned earlier, and lends the story a deep richness.  There are several characters in this story – Diana Prince (for she isn’t Wonder Woman yet) is just one of them.  So, though this book has Diana in it, it’s not just about her.  Each character – Alia, Nim, Jason, Theo – is important to the story, and each is well-developed and interesting.  And one of the most important things Bardugo does with these characters is establish strong (and I mean epic STRONG) relationships – between siblings, between friends, and between females – all something I wish we saw more of.  Basically, all the ❤ for these characters, their sass, their support for one another, and their bravery.

Snaps to Leigh Bardugo for taking a strong female character and making her more powerful, smarter, and more relevant than just being the “hot one with the rope”.  This Diana Prince is the Wonder Woman I want my daughter to grow up reading about.

Now, bring on Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker!

*A huge thanks to Random House for providing me with an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Top 10 Tuesday tomorrow, friends!

Peace out!

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Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Coolest Book Characters

***Due to the fact that Skynet possessed my computer yesterday, Top Ten Tuesday is taking place on Wacky-Woo Wednesday***

If you’re at all like me, you judge books based on how interesting the setting is, how original the plot is, and how likable (or unlikeable) the characters are.  Some writers are extremely gifted in one or two of these areas; the BEST writers are gifted in all three.  It takes all three of these elements to make a story, and if one of the elements is weak, then more times than not, the story is weak, too.

I like character-driven stories.  I can deal with a setting I don’t particularly like, or a plot that seems a little simplistic, if the characters are memorable and capture my interest.  They have to make me care.  I have to be invested in the characters – in their lives, or in their deaths, in their successes, or in their failures.  I like flawed characters because they seem more real to me, and I like strong characters because they are inspiring.

And they get double points when they’re awesome.  Like these TOP 10 COOLEST BOOK CHARACTERS.

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JAMES BOND

Say what you want about the British secret agent and his philandering ways, but when it comes to coolness factor, this dude has it times ten.  He’s always in trouble with someone, be it SPECTRE, Blofeld, Goldfinger, or M, and he’s always got a plan to get out of it.  Even if that means blowing up an entire city and walking away from the explosion without looking back at it…

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HOLLY GOLIGHTLY

This freewheeling lady-about-town does what she wants, when she wants, and with whomever she wants, and doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it.  She is unapologetic about her motives and her material desires, and doesn’t try to hide the truth behind anything she does.  She sleeps half the day, socializes half the night, and can climb out of bed and look stunning in 16.5 seconds.

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HARRY DRESDEN

As Chicago’s only wizard for hire, Dresden kind of has the market on cool – at least in the Windy City.  Dresden is a complete misfit, and has quite possibly the worst luck of anyone, EVER.  But that doesn’t stop him from wielding magic like a boss, and taking down some of the worst criminals out there – human and non.  He bucks every system imaginable – the law, the magicians’ Council – and somehow always manages to come out on top – even when he’s dead for a while.

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MR. FOX

Tricksy, clever Hobbitses foxes are all sorts of awesome.  Especially this one.  He’s like a furry Danny Ocean, complete with a criminal crew.  He wants to provide for his family, and is willing to risk everything to make sure they have what they need.  And then, just as importantly, he makes sure those around him have what they need, too.  He recognizes that the critter community is stronger if they work together, rather than separately.  A valuable lesson.

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AMELIA PEABODY

Peabody puts all other book characters to shame.  She’s a proper lady, but can sip sherry, run an archaeological site, raise kids, keep her husband out of trouble, and knock someone out with her parasol, all before morning tea time.  She is forward-thinking and clever, brave, and a wonderful problem-solver.   She has the spirit of an adventurer at a time when it wasn’t strictly fashionable for women to go gallivanting around the globe – but gallivant she does, and fearlessly.

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SHERLOCK HOLMES

The brilliant, borderline mad Holmes is complex, interesting, and slightly frightening.  He is willing to go to unbelievable lengths to find the solution to his cases, even if it means putting himself (and, by association, Dr. Watson) in grave danger.  His skill at reasoning sets him apart from other detective characters, and the fact that he is so unabashedly confident in his position as the world’s best consulting detective is an outpouring of his arrogance – something he sees as less of a character flaw, and more of a fact.

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LUCY PEVENSIE

It takes undaunted courage to be the youngest in a family, and go on an adventure without your older siblings.  It takes even more courage to believe something they don’t, and to stand up for that belief.  Add to that running for your life, opposing a witch, going on a sea voyage, ruling as queen, and fighting a battle, and you are just scratching the surface of things Lucy does.  She may not always have complete confidence in herself, but she follows her heart and does what she believes is right, and, in the end, is a heroine.

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ROLAND DESCHAIN

The last Gunslinger.  He’s a haunting figure, and plays out the journey of the choice between good and evil.  His decisions are rarely easy; often they are brutal.  But he makes them anyway, often at great cost to himself.  Obviously mentally scarred, he deals with loss the way he sees best – practically and coolly – but this means he doesn’t “deal”, and at times, his demons come back to haunt him.  Heroic by nature, he is still flawed, and that gives him layers of complication.

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ANNE SHIRLEY

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…  Anne is bold.  She is confident.  She is brilliant.  And she doesn’t allow her status as an orphan to ever make her feel like she is less than worthy.  She knows what she wants, and she works ceaselessly to accomplish her goals.  She dares to dream, and is willing to work to make her dreams come true, too.  Brave, Anne is always up for a challenge (or a dare), up for travel, and up for a new experience, all of which provide her with fodder for her boundless imagination.

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ELIZABETH BENNET

A free-thinking lady who wishes to marry for love, rather than money and security, Lizzie is an anomaly.  She possesses a vitality and zest for life that allow her to see the absurdity in the social conventions of her time.  She is slightly impertinent in her opinions, and does not strictly abide by “acceptable” social ideas.  She does not see the “upper” class as being better than her – she knows her worth, and is unwilling to settle for anything less than she knows she deserves.   Also, she has a wicked-snarky-sassy sense of humor.

So there you have it!  Though there are countless other shady-cool characters in literature, these are some of my favorites.  Who are some of yours?  Let me know, and we can chat!

Thursday we’ll talk about something truly terrifying – a writer’s current work-in-progress…  DUH- DUh-Duh…

 

 

Technology is (Sometimes) the Devil

So, for all of you out there thinking “this Inkblot Ideas chick is totally forgetful and unreliable – she keeps saying she’s gonna post blog updates, and it’s Tuesday night, and still nada”: fair point.  However, it’s not for lack of trying.

I’ve been swamped this week (yes, yes, I know it’s only Tuesday) at work, trying to finish up some big projects in anticipation of Fall (with a capital F, because I ❤ Fall so much), and it’s been sucking my time.  So, last night and tonight I have been attempting to write from home.  My Mac is not cooperating.  It performed a demon update, and now is running at turtle speed.  And I CAN’T TAKE IT! I want to stab my pen through the screen.  You hear that, Apple?  Your tech be junk.

It has taken me twenty agonizing minutes just to write this much.  So I’m just letting y’all know that I’m not dead in a ditch somewhere, but by tomorrow, my Mac may be.  Either that, or CNN is going to report that John Connor has been kidnapped.  Because I’m inclined to believe that Skynet has taken over my computer.  It makes about as much sense as anything, at this point.